Document Type




Publication Date



American Physiological Society

Source Publication

Journal of Applied Physiology

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This pilot study examined whether ischemic conditioning (IC), a noninvasive, cost-effective, and easy-to-administer intervention, could improve gait speed and paretic leg muscle function in stroke survivors. We hypothesized that 2 wk of IC training would increase self-selected walking speed, increase paretic muscle strength, and reduce neuromuscular fatigability in chronic stroke survivors. Twenty-two chronic stroke survivors received either IC or IC Sham on their paretic leg every other day for 2 wk (7 total sessions). IC involved 5-min bouts of ischemia, repeated five times, using a cuff inflated to 225 mmHg on the paretic thigh. For IC Sham, the cuff inflation pressure was 10 mmHg. Self-selected walking speed was assessed using the 10-m walk test, and paretic leg knee extensor strength and fatigability were assessed using a Biodex dynamometer. Self-selected walking speed increased in the IC group (0.86 ± 0.21 m/s pretest vs. 1.04 ± 0.22 m/s posttest, means ± SD; P< 0.001) but not in the IC Sham group (0.92 ± 0.47 m/s pretest vs. 0.96 ± 0.46 m/s posttest; P= 0.25). Paretic leg maximum voluntary contractions were unchanged in both groups (103 ± 57 N·m pre-IC vs. 109 ± 65 N·m post-IC; 103 ± 59 N·m pre-IC Sham vs. 108 ± 67 N·m post-IC Sham; P = 0.81); however, participants in the IC group maintained a submaximal isometric contraction longer than participants in the IC Sham group (278 ± 163 s pre-IC vs. 496 ± 313 s post-IC, P = 0.004; 397 ± 203 s pre-IC Sham vs. 355 ± 195 s post-IC Sham; P = 0.46). The results from this pilot study thus indicate that IC training has the potential to improve walking speed and paretic muscle fatigue resistance poststroke.


Accepted version. Journal of Applied Physiology, Vol. 126, No. 3 (March 2019) : 755-763. DOI. © 2019 American Physiological Society. Used with permission.

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